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Tuesday, 15 February 2005

My Weekend: Best Birthday Ever

Friday, I started catching a cold and by Friday night I felt kind of ill. I set up webcasting for the Bill Dixon concert. It was the first official webcast from school. My computer was crashing with Quicktime Broadcaster, so I had to work out those issues, get a line out of the DAT machine, set everything up, all while feeling sick and the run and do a soundcheck and play in the concert. I felt dizzy after playing some notes. Cold medicine to the rescue. It is ungood to tech for a concert and then go play tuba in the same concert. However, I can now do webcasting and could teach it to others.

Despite a very harried set up, the concert went extremely well. It was a joy to play Dixon's music. I felt like I played well. and the webcast was successful. So all was well. Somebody who heard the concert said they dug the tuba. Cool. I didn't even know anybody could hear me.

Saturday morning, I woke up early, consumed caffeine and then set up a webcast for the Bill Dixon symposium. then I drove to the airport and picked up Cola! Yay! I dropped her off at my house so she could nap after taking the red eye and then I went to the rehearsal to my 5 minute symphonic piece. Aaron conducted it. the orchestra was sight reading. Aaron really pulled the piece together in 45 minutes of rehearsal. They played it very well at the end of practice. I wish I had a recording of that run through. I wrote the kind of tuba part that I thought I would like to play. The tuba often had the theme. The player was kind of timid. It seemed like he was thinking, "I could possibly be meant to stick out that much."

for those of you just joining this feature, Cola = Nicole. She is but one person with a nickname and is my girlfriend, whom I hadn't seen since winter break. I was extremely happy to see her.

I went to part of the afternoon session of the symposium. They were talking about identity and music and opportunities for musicians and racism and nationalism and many fascinating issues. I cut out early, though and went to wake up Nicole and consume more caffeine (it works as well or better than cold medicine sometimes). Then we went to the orchestra performance of three student works, including mine. Angel, the director, asked me to come up and say a few words. I had no idea that was coming. The piece was about my marriage breaking up (as much as pieces can be about anything), but the title was from a 15th century mystery play about Joan of Arc, so I talked about that. Then they played through it. It didn't go as well as during the practice, but that's to be expected. It was pretty good. There was a fair sized crowd there, including my advisor. I await his feedback.

Then I had some time off to spend with my sweetie. Then I webcasted a concert by Bill Dixon and Ran Blake. It was fantastic. I had my first symphony performance. I got to see my girlfriend and then I went to a great concert. All in one day.

Sunday was actually my birthday. I'm 29. I have mixed feelings about that. But my Saturn return is now over. Theoretically. I'm not into the self-examination thing anymore right now. Maybe I should re-do it periodically,

the grad women in the music department arranged a potluck brunch and "surprise party." It was sooooo heterocentric. Little (like model train scale) plastic penises were handed out. Riiiight. This idiom is clearly aimed at Midwestern married housewives. One nifty thing offered for sale, however was a semi-programmable silver bullet. It was clearly AM modulated, by a sine wave, a ramp wave or a pulse wave. I want to write my synthesizer manufacturer to ask how many amps I can run through my VCA. I seems like I could have batteries on one side and bullets on the other and use a LFO or a laptop outputting a subsonic audio signal to control the speed and then put them on drumheads or something. I had a piece for vibrators and electric guitars at my undergrad thesis concert. I don't want my dad to think my academic experience is all about vibrators or something. although, at 29, should I still care about that or am I old enough to stop worrying about it?

I remember going to a 29th birthday party as an undergrad and thinking of the birthday girl as an unqualified grown up. Totally a responsible adult who didn't have much in common with us students, but who was fun. la la la

Everyone since Charles Ives likes to talk about grey haired women as the ultimately unhip concert attender. If your music appeals to gray haired women, then you suck and you're not avant guard enough. However, time marches ever onwards and some proponents of this meme will find themselves a victim of it.

Today I took Nicole to class with me. It was Anthony Braxton's seminar. I had been talking about him. Nicole didn't believe me. Today, she learned that I am a more reliable witness than I seem. We watched Alien. Mostly, I think, because anthony loves the movie. But we talked about motivic material and sound design. there's a cheesy symphony at the very end which really doesn't belong. However, the main theme of the symphony is an inversion of one of the major themes of the movie. I hadn't seen the movie before, so I was more aware of plot than of sound. Also, it was clear from the start that you had to kill the cat. As soon as they found the cat while searching for the alien, they had to have realized that they had no way of knowing if the cat was infected or all the paths to infection. Also, how did the alien get so big after popping out of the ill-fated crew member? Was it eating the food stores or what?

In the afternoon, Nicole sat in on Braxton's ensemble. We played one of each type of piece that we play, so it was a good introduction to what we do in the ensemble. Then, alas, she went back to the airport and by now she in Dulles waiting for a flight to Oakland. I was so glad she came to see me. I miss her when we're so far apart. And it was just perfect timing, with all this stuff going on at the same time. I think she got to see what my academic experience is like. She said this afternoon, "your life is weird." It is indeed.

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3 comments:

goat said...

i remember your thesis concert. i had the solo. that's pretty much the peak musical experience of my life. i remember it going much better in rehearsal than in actuality.

Exile said...

Okay... I'm a scifi geek...

The creature grew so fast because it burrowed into the food lockers from the back side. The crew never saw it running around and assumed it was hiding somewhere else. All the while it was gorging itself and growing by the minute. The shed skin that Bret finds shows it was growing. In the script, Ripley, Parker and Lambert discover the raided food lockers, but this got left out of the final cut.

I'm sure nobody cares. :)

uncola said...

it's not that i didn't believe you. i just thought you were exaggerating a bit. but you weren't, which is even better.

i realy enjoyed my visist. i miss you!